Monster Loans, Lend Tech Loans, and Associated Student Loan Debt-Relief Companies
On January 9, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) filed a complaint in federal court in the Central District of California against Chou Team Realty, LLC f/k/a Chou Team Realty, Inc., d/b/a MonsterLoans, d/b/a Monster Loans; Lend Tech Loans, Inc.; Docu Prep Center, Inc., d/b/a DocuPrep Center, d/b/a Certified Document Center; Document Preparation Services, LP, d/b/a DocuPrep Center, d/b/a Certified Document Center; Certified Doc Prep, Inc.; Certified Doc Prep Services, LP; Assure Direct Services, Inc.; Assure Direct Services, LP; Direct Document Solutions, Inc.; Direct Document Solutions, LP; Secure Preparation Services, Inc.; Secure Preparation Services, LP; Docs Done Right, Inc.; Docs Done Right, LP; Cre8labs, Inc.; XO Media, LLC; TDK Enterprises, LLC; Bilal Abdelfattah a/k/a Belal Abdelfattah a/k/a Bill Abdel (“Bill Abdel”); Thomas “Tom” Chou; Sean Cowell; Robert Hoose; Kenneth Lawson; Eduardo “Ed” Martinez; Jawad Nesheiwat; Anthony Sebreros; and David Sklar. The Bureau filed an amended complaint on July 10, 2020 and a second amended complaint on August 26, 2020.
The Bureau alleges that many of the Defendants violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by wrongfully obtaining consumer report information and that, in connection with the marketing and sale of student loan debt relief products and services, certain Defendants charged unlawful advance fees and engaged in deceptive acts and practices. The complaint also alleges that certain entities and individuals are liable as Relief Defendants because they received profits resulting from the illegal conduct. The Bureau’s complaint seeks an injunction against defendants, as well as damages, redress to consumers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and the imposition of civil money penalties.
On May 14, 2020, the Bureau, and Chou Team Realty, LLC, Thomas Chou, TDK Enterprises, LLC, Cre8labs, Inc., and Sean Cowell moved for entry of a stipulated final judgment, which the court entered the same day and which resolves the Bureau’s claims against those Defendants and Relief Defendants. The judgment imposes an $18 million redress judgment against Monster Loans, bans Monster Loans, Chou, and Cowell from the debt-relief industry, and imposes a total $450,001 civil money penalty against them.
On July 7, 2020, the Court approved a stipulated final judgment between the Bureau and Robert Hoose, which resolves the Bureau’s claims against him. The judgment imposes a $7 million redress judgment against Hoose, bans him from the debt-relief industry, and imposes a $1 civil money penalty against him.
On October 19, 2020, the Court approved a stipulated final judgment between the Bureau and Relief Defendants Kenneth Lawson and XO Media, LLC, which resolves the Bureau’s claim against them. The judgment imposes a $200,000 redress judgment against Lawson and XO Media, LLC.
The case remains pending against the remaining defendants.